Shine on Kaitaia has delivered another session of its 'Inspire' series, with a visit by actors Ngahuia Piripi and Teone Kahu, the latest in a series of artists, actors, creatives, entrepreneurs, business owners and others with experience to share the stories of their journeys and overcoming struggles.

For Ngahuia, who grew up in South Auckland but whose whānau is from Ahipara, and who still has family here, it was familiar territory.

"Acting is a job where you happen to be in front of a lot of people, so we love to come up, relax and spend time here," she said.

She had been keen to "come home" and korero with youth in Kaitaia, given that they rarely had the chance to talk to people in her field. And she knew something of their challenges.


"Unfortunately I'm not friends with a lot of the friends I had back then (when she was growing up). I noticed quite early that I lived in a poor area, but my mum had a lot of whānau support," she said, the big difference for her being that she had wanted more.

"For me to get more, I had to set myself some goals," she added.

"Setting goals gives you something to work towards, and that is a great place to start. It helps you figure out what you want in life."

She wanted to inspire the youth, telling them she would give them a "life cheat sheet". Her most important message was for students to take school seriously, which would make their lives easier.

"Just pay attention at school for a few years. If you want to have more in life later, stay at school."

Teone Kahu, whose mother is a writer from Te Paatu and father from Taranaki, said they had moved around a lot when he was a child, going where the work was, but attending 16 primary schools, and a poor upbringing, had not defined what he had achieved in his career.

"You can be in a bad place now, but you can be in a good place later. You can have a bad home, a bad year ... it doesn't mean it is always going to be like that. You can still achieve great things in life," he said.

He had not liked high school, and had struggled, but stayed because he wanted more in life.


"Take school seriously. It's not there to tell you what to do, it's there to teach you what to do in life. Stimulate your brain, learn more, have a goal and a back-up plan," he added.

Both emphasised the need to set goals, whether those involved pursuing passions as athletes, within the music industry, attending university, owning their own business, getting their driver's licence, finishing high school or buying a car. Then, having achieved a goal, they should set a new one, keep trying, and keep working.

They also agreed that choosing the right friends was very important.

"Show me your friends and I will show you your future. You need to be careful who you have around you," Teone said.